Saturday, April 28, 2007

healing and planning

it has been a difficult past week or two. most of my family was in Maine at the funeral of my twenty-something year old cousin who was found dead in bed by his college roommate only two days after returning from spring break with his family. i was not there because i was supposedly too caught up in my writing to travel. the funeral took place on the same day as the Virginia Tech shootings. when my mom returned home and we had a chance to speak at length on the phone, my heart absolutely ripped to shreds - not only at the grief my family is feeling for the lost of someone so young, but at the collected sorrow that still permeates the air. i have not been very productive work-wise since then, preferring to spend most of my time in bed, asleep, not thinking, not feeling.

this is supposed to be a craft blog, so i will share what little crafting i have done of lately. i have been knitting!!! mostly making swatches as i plan out future projects. so, in no particular order...

i bought this on ebay years ago. the label is in Russian, so all i know is that it's a mohair blend. i want to make a pretty sweater with it. definitely outside of my usual color range, but it would be nice to embrace a bit of girly glam.
this is from an old, shapeless sweater i recycled last week instead of setting it on fire in the backyard (which was my first choice). the original was a reverse stockinette stitch (pretty much like the back side of this swatch, but i think i prefer it....
...on the flip side (in this case, the front of the stockinette) it's rather bulky: about 4 stitches to the inch on #10's. should be fun, once i decide what to do with it.

this is a very light yarn i bought last summer. it is a silk cotton blend and has beautiful sheen. this is the front of the stockinette. nice, but not the sexiest application of the material.

i very much like the reverse stockinette instead...or maybe something light and lacey. hmm...!!!

and, certainly not least of all, the yarn that will become my "boo pillows". not a frightful-boo, but a in, this will be toss pillow covers for my sweetie-boo. almost makes you think i have a heart, eh?

Monday, April 09, 2007


in my greatest week yet of procrastinating, i added a fab new item to my wardrobe. i purchased 8 ounces of roving to practice using the spinning wheel, but i got the hang of it before the roving arrived. so...there i was, alone in the house for a whole week, with only my incomplete dissertation to keep me company. what is one to do? make yarn of course!!! i decided to try spinning a thick yarn for some sense of satisfaction in actually being able to complete a task. as new spinners, we pride ourselves on being able to produce almost-impossibly thin singles, but sometimes, you want something with a bit of weight to it. problem is, you start thick, but habit and practice kicks in, and the end of the yarn is about half the width of the beginning. i have not fully mastered the technique, so there are thin spots here-and-there, which actually adds a bit of homey charm. the finished product is about 14-15 wraps-per-inch. not exactly chunky by normal standards, but much thicker than my previous efforts. it was so satisfying to spin three full bobbins in an evening of TV watching which required no plying. i let this new yarn sit on the bobbins till the following day so the twist would have some time to set. trust me, this is a worth wile practice in patience.

i recently obtained 6 jars of Jacquard acid dyes [which should make my sweetie-pie think twice about making bets with me in the future!]. i space-dyed the yarn using random splashes of burnt orange, chestnut, and periwinkle. the periwinkle was mostly lost in the fray, but it did produce a few interesting blue-greyish splotches. to be absolutely honest, i was frightened when i first looked at the dyed yarn. i thought i'd made a HUGE error in color choice, and i strongly considered dyeing the whole batch a single dark color to hide my shame. while i was pondering this option, my attention suddenly turned to thoughts of lace knitting [there is nothing like procrastination to fuel the imagination]. i found tons of interesting patterns to add to my collection, but i decided to give the scary yarn a chance at the Halley's Comet Hat - a great beginner lace knitting project. i will let the result speak for itself...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

postcard from the edge

so...the dissertation thing is going as well as can be expected...considering that i could not care less about this whole experience anymore. on a total tangent, i'm having a somewhat pleasant day. i can finally see the carpet in my living room and the yarn stash has been corralled into a pile to be further sorted at a later date. i am considering delving into dyeing with natural materials next. i played around with natural dyes years ago when i worked at the botanic garden, but that a very cursory experience. this renewed interest was inspired by the jar of turmeric in my spice cupboard that keeps staring at me every time i reach for the pepper grinder. speaking of the pepper grinder...

i just had a super-yummy lunch. roasted asparagus with a pinch of salt and black pepper and CRABCAKES with my own special sauce. jealous much???